Adjective fatigue, title fatigue, are some of the biggest challenges in writing blogs like this. At some point you just sit there, staring at the computer, looking for new ways to express yourself without sounding like a douche. A douche is when you get bored with all the cliches and resort to cuteness that is not translated well on the internet, and you begin to sound like a douche. But what do you do when a cliche that you used many times fits a description so perfectly. You swallow your douchy pride, write that thing and move on. While hinting to the audience how dirty you feel for using one of the most overused cliches in the food blogger universe yet again. Its the thought that counts, right?
But in the case of Osteria Alla Frasca, another title sounds almost like injustice. In today’s Trip Advisor age nothing is really entirely unknown. Just like a falling tree in the forest, “Hidden Gems” are not so until people find them and write about them for everybody to see. Alla Frasca is not exactly a secret. It is mentioned in just enough publications and blogs like the excellent Naturally Epicurian, the only Venice based blogger as of this writing. But its all about the quality and location, tucked deep inside Cannaregio, inside a little picturesque courtyard that is so deserving of the title. When you discover it, you pause. And when you visit it, you really want to like it.
And then when the food exceeds the already lofty expectations, it becomes a home run. Octopuses and even Octopi dont come any more tender than this without crossing to the mushy side. It is served with two purees, a potato, and cherry tomato for you play with. A fresh tasting Cheese Ravioli was nicely perfumed with lemon and herbs, with razor clams added for good measure.
Here we tasted one of the best pastas of the trip. So good a restaurant is named after it! The Pasta Alla Frasca is a spectacular medley of seafood on spaghetti, brimming in that wonderful white wine and seafood juice we couldnt get enough on this trip. A grilled mixed seafood plate was another delight though by this point we started to struggle as we were getting full. We found that in Italy, and even across the pond in Croatia, one needs to be careful with those “Mixed Grills”. Pistachio creme brûlée was fine but not great to finish still a most wonderful meal. The Sicilian in the kitchen adding oranges and pistachios and other Sicilian touches when no one is looking.
Osteria Alla Frasca represents everything we love about eating in Italy. When it’s just you, Bruno the owner, the young Sicilian peeping out of the kitchen cracking jokes, and a few more diners in a small room. Bruno has been in the food business in Venice pretty much all his life, including a major presence in the Rialto market at some point, resurrecting what feels like a local institution loved by locals and savvy tourists alike. This is a big time GO.